Minister for Defence, Minister for Defence Materiel and Parliamentary Secretary for Defence – New structure and capability for Army

Minister for Defence Stephen Smith, Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare and Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Senator David Feeney, together with the Chief of Army Lieutenant General David Morrison, today announced Plan BEERSHEBA, a major restructure of the Australian Army.

Plan BEERSHEBA will strengthen Army’s capacity to conduct a range of tasks concurrently and to a consistently high standard for prolonged operations by applying lessons from the past decade of sustained Australian Defence Force operational commitments.

Plan BEERSHEBA will ensure that Army continues to contribute forces to operations including Afghanistan and successfully transition to a force that is able to respond effectively to future challenges, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and other operations.

Plan BEERSHEBA will be progressively implemented over the coming years to ensure personnel and equipment capabilities can be generated for current operations and transition to meet future challenges.

Plan BEERSHEBA involves:

  • The restructure of the 1st, 3rd and 7th Brigades to form new Multi-role Manoeuvre Brigades. These Brigades will be fundamentally alike in structure to enable sustained operations within a new 36-month Force Generation Cycle.
  • The establishment of ten battle group manoeuvre units.
  • Realignment of the Army Reserve to be more integrated with the regular Army, forming a overall force of full-time and part-time personnel.  The Reserve will assume an even greater focus on operations.
  • The dedication of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR) to form the core of Army’s contribution to a future amphibious force capable of conducting humanitarian and disaster relief and other operations, particularly in our immediate region.
  • Army working with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force to enhance interoperability between the three services, in particular in operations with the Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ships and other amphibious platforms

Minister Smith said that Plan BEERSHEBA is a significant organisational change within the Australian Defence Force, which will ensure a sustainable force structure for Army for the future.

Each Multi-role Manoeuvre Brigade will include armour, artillery, communication, engineer, infantry and logistic elements.

The Multi-role Manoeuvre Brigades will enable more effective training in Australia and rapid deployment of forces overseas.  The creation of complementary brigade structures will enhance Army’s ability to undertake sustained operations.

Minister Clare said that Plan BEERSHEBA will prepare the Army for the successful introduction of important future capabilities including the new LHDs, new vehicles being delivered under project LAND 121 and new weapon systems as they are introduced in the coming decade.

Senator Feeney said that the restructure would closely integrate full and part time personnel in order to generate a total force capable of meeting a range of contingencies.  The 2nd Division will assume an even greater focus on operations.

“Each Multi-role Manoeuvre Brigade will be supported by two Reserve Brigades from 2nd Division,” Senator Feeney said.

“Plan BEERSHEBA recognises the operational capability of the Army Reserve, with a focus on stabilisation operations such as those in East Timor and the Solomon Islands.”

In addition to the structural changes and improved integration of full time and part time components of the Army, the introduction of the ADF’s new amphibious capabilities represent a significant focus for Plan BEERSHEBA.

The new LHD ships represent a fundamental shift in how Army will deploy land forces and conduct operations in response to the full spectrum of scenarios in the future.

Chief of Army Lieutenant General Morrison said “Our modern Army is moving into the future with a new perspective and a smarter way of doing business and delivering capability within the resources we have.

Plan BEERSHEBA will ensure that Army can continue to contribute forces to operations including Afghanistan as well as successfully transition to a force that maintains high levels of readiness to respond to the range of Australia’s Defence needs in the future.”

Media Note:

Imagery is available at:

http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003=&search=11121568

Media Contact:

Mr Smith’s Office: Ellen Shields (02) 6277 7800 or 0400 347 473

Mr Clare’s Office: Korena Flanagan (02) 6277 7620 or 0418 251 316

Senator Feeney’s Office: Lorna Clarke  0408 345 730

Department: (02) 6127 1999

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